LEGISLATIVE TITLE: Rivers and Harbors Appropriation Act of 1899
UNITED STATES CODE CITATION: 33 U.S.C. 401, 403, 407
OTHER TITLES AND POPULAR NAMES: River and Harbors Act of 1899
SUMMARY: The Rivers and Harbors Acts address projects and activities in navigable waters and harbor and river improvements. Several of these Acts provided a number of regulatory authorities, the implementation of which has evolved over time. This profile addresses only those sections that relate to the Corps Regulatory program.
Section 9 of the Rivers and Harbors Act approved March 3, 1899, (33 U.S.C. 401) prohibits the construction of any dam or dike across any navigable water of the United States in the absence of Congressional consent and approval of the plans by the Chief of Engineers and the Secretary of the Army. Where the navigable portions of the water body lie wholly within the limits of a single state, the structure may be built under authority of the legislature of that state, if the location and plans or any modification thereof are approved by the Chief of Engineers and by the Secretary of the Army. Section 9 also pertains to bridges and causeways but the authority of the Secretary of the Army and Chief of Engineers with respect to bridges and causeways was transferred to the Secretary of Transportation under the Department of Transportation Act of October 15, 1966.
Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899 (33 U.S.C. 403) prohibits the unauthorized obstruction or alteration of any navigable water of the United States. This section provides that the construction of any structure in or over any navigable water of the United States, or the accomplishment of any other work affecting the course, location, condition, or physical capacity of such waters is unlawful unless the work has been recommended by the Chief of Engineers and authorized by the Secretary of the Army. The Secretary's approval authority has since been delegated to the Chief of Engineers.
Section 13 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899 (33 U.S.C. 407) provides that the Secretary of the Army, whenever the Chief of Engineers determines that anchorage and navigation will not be injured thereby, may permit the discharge of refuse into navigable waters. In the absence of a permit, such discharge of refuse is prohibited. While the prohibition of this section, known as the Refuse Act, is still in effect, the permit authority of the Secretary of the Army has been superseded by the permit authority provided the Administrator, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the states under Sections 402 and 405 of the Clean Water Act, respectively.
Section 14 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899 (33 U.S.C. 408) provides that the Secretary of the Army, on the recommendation of the Chief of Engineers, may grant permission for the temporary occupation or use of any sea wall, bulkhead, jetty, dike, levee, wharf, pier or other work built by the United States. This permission will be granted by an appropriate real estate instrument in accordance with existing real estate regulations.
Section 7 of the Rivers and Harbors Act approved 8 August 1917 authorizes the Secretary of the Army to promulgate regulations for the use, administration, and navigation of the navigable waters of the United States as public necessity may require for the protection of life and property or for operations of the United States in providing channel improvements. Procedures followed for promulgation of such regulations, although they do not involve issuance of permits, are similar to those for the permit program.(33 C.F.R. Part 324)
Danger Zones. Regulations can be prescribed for the use and navigation of any area likely to be endangered by Department of Defense operations. The authority to prescribe danger zone regulations is exercised so as not to interfere with or restrict unreasonably the commercial fishing industry. (33 C.F.R. Part 324)
Restricted Areas. When required for the protection of life and property at Department of Defense (DoD) installations, certain areas maybe set aside and reserved, such as naval restricted areas. Reasonable regulations may be prescribed, after public notice, restricting or prohibiting the use of such areas by vessels. The Coast Guard is authorized to establish restricted areas for safety but not restricted areas for DoD facilities. (33 C.F.R. Part 324)
RESOURCES COVERED: Shorelines and navigable waterways, dredged material transport and disposal; all tidal waters and /or waters that have been used, are currently used, or could be used to transport interstate or foreign commerce (33 C.F.R. 329.4).
COMPLIANCE REQUIREMENTS: Activities that involve the construction of dams, bridges, dikes etc. across any navigable water, or placing obstructions to navigation outside established Federal lines and excavating from or depositing material in such waters, require permits from the Corps. The Act prohibits the use of Federal funds for activities which would have adverse affect on those characteristics which caused a river to be classified as wild, scenic, or recreational.
REVIEW AND CONSULTATION REQUIREMENTS
Who Reviews or Consults: The Corps conducts public interest reviews to ensure that proposed projects comply with Section 10, and as part of these reviews coordinates with other Federal, State, and local agencies. Final determinations are made by the Corps after consideration of this information.
Process: See C.F.R.
Product: Permits for work in or affecting navigable waters.
Timing/Schedule: For Section 10 permits: if the permit application is complete, the Corps should issue a public notice within 15 days, allow a comment period of 15 to 30 days, address concerns and objections, and make a permit decision shortly thereafter (33 C.F.R. 325.2).
Civil Works Planning: ER 1105-2-100, Guidance for Conducting Civil Works Planning Studies, Chapter 7, Environmental Planning and Evaluation Considerations.
Civil Works Engineering: None specific to this statute. Civil Works Construction: None specific to this statute.
Civil Works Operations: None specific to this statute.
Regulatory: 33 C.F.R. 320-330, Sections 9, 10 and 13.
FOR MORE INFORMATION SEE: None identified
IMPLEMENTING GUIDANCE OF OTHER AGENCIES
Agency: None identified.
Guidance Title: None identified
Code of Federal Regulations Citation: None identified.
MANAGEMENT OPPORTUNITIES: None identified.